- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 12, 2004

PHILADELPHIA — The Washington Wizards failed to capture the moment, and the Philadelphia 76ers refused to play dead. Unsurprisingly, the 76ers had no trouble handing the Wizards an ugly 113-88 beating last night before 17,977 at Wachovia Center.

Philadelphia (22-31) seemingly was ripe for picking. The 76ers had fired coach Randy Ayers one day earlier, and their final game before the All-Star break looked like a fine opportunity for the Wizards (16-34) to win their first Atlantic Division road game and go into the break riding their first three-game winning streak.

Forget it.

Asked if anything good came out of the game, Wizards coach Eddie Jordan didn’t mince words.

“Yeah, it’s over,” Jordan said. “It was an embarrassing performance, very embarrassing.”

Jordan did not allow the Wizards, who trailed by as many as 32 points, any excuses. He said the fact that this was the last game before the All-Star break should have had no bearing.

“I don’t want to insult them, saying that,” Jordan said. “This is an NBA game where you are getting paid well to play and people are paying good money to see you play, so saying that they were looking ahead to the break is insulting. If they were, they should give their money back.”

The 76ers never trailed after Glenn Robinson’s layup put them ahead 10-8 with 7:50 left in the first period. For most of the second half, the lead was in double figures.

The Wizards had won six of their last 11 games and were coming off an impressive road victory — their first in two months — over Cleveland. Conversely, the 76ers had lost eight of their last 10.

But none of this mattered to the 76ers, who made 54 percent of their shots against a feeble defensive effort by the Wizards. Philadelphia also ended the Wizards’ streak of games in which they scored 100 or more points at six.

League-leading scorer Allen Iverson had a game-high 25 points in 33 minutes for Philadelphia.

Juan Dixon led the Wizards with 21 points. Jerry Stackhouse, playing his fifth game of the season, limped most of the night, finishing with 15. Gilbert Arenas struggled, scoring a season-low seven on 1-for-10 shooting.

“It was an onslaught tonight,” said Stackhouse, who said his limp was due to a gimpy right ankle and not his surgically repaired knee. “This happens when a team fires a coach and they put the new guy in — everybody plays with a lot of energy. … In a perfect world, I guess it would have been better if they had fired Randy Ayers tomorrow.”

The Wizards, who have had their full complement of players for only three games this season, found out Tuesday they will lose leading scorer Larry Hughes four to six weeks with a broken left wrist.

Playing their first game under Ayers’ replacement, Chris Ford, Philadelphia used its defense to set the tone early, forcing the Wizards into seven first-quarter turnovers that resulted in 13 points. The fifth, committed by Stackhouse with 4:23 left in the first, led to Iverson’s layup with 4:23 to play and gave the 76ers a 21-10 lead.

In the second quarter, reserve center Zendon Hamilton came off the bench to score 14 points and grab 10 rebounds for the Sixers, helping the visitors get and keep a double-figures edge.

Notes — Brevin Knight started at point guard for Hughes. … The Wizards were without reserve center Etan Thomas who did not play because of a sprained left ankle suffered in Wednesday’s practice.

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